Drunk driving in Arizona has proven to be deadly for many people. The Centers for Disease Control reported that over 300 people in the state died in alcohol-related crashes in 2017, and thousands more were injured. Generally, drunk driving incidents in this state involve two types of impairment: drunk driving and buzzed driving.
Arizona law defines drunk driving as having a blood-alcohol level of .08 percent or more. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, this level is cut in half for individuals driving commercial vehicles. Authorities may use reasonable presumption when pulling drivers over, such as observing them swerving, changing lanes in an unsafe manner or failing to stop completely at stop signs or traffic lights. First offenses for drunk driving in Arizona can result in both jail time and fines.
Buzzed driving occurs when drivers have alcohol in their system but it tests below the legal limit of .08 percent. While individuals who are driving buzzed may feel sober, their response times may be significantly lower, even if they are not legally drunk. This can cause them to react more slowly to poor driving conditions or traffic situations that call for extreme caution. Drivers who are found to be under the influence yet not legally drunk could still face charges, especially if they cause an accident or injury to another driver or passenger.
Drivers who drive drunk or buzzed may incur severe penalties if they are convicted. Many may lose their privilege to operate a motor vehicle, while others find that the negative social consequences of such a charge can be even more serious and have far-reaching effects on their lives.